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Jury selection began Monday in the federal criminal trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who is charged with accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes — including some in gold bars — in return for official acts.

The once-powerful former head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee appeared in a Manhattan courthouse in a dark suit and sporting his senator pin.

U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein outlined the 18-count indictment against Menendez and two businessmen on trial as co-defendants, and warned defense lawyers and prosecutors “to operate in good faith.”

He later told a pool of prospective jurors the trial could last six to seven weeks. Assistant U.S. attorney Daniel Richenthal estimated the timeline to present the prosecution’s case would be between four and a half to six and a half weeks.

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